Congress’ inability to reach an agreement on border legislation before lawmakers left Washington for summer recess has increased the prospect of unilateral action from the White House on the immigration issue. Meanwhile, it seems like just about everyone who isn’t a diehard Democrat or an illegal immigrant is urging the President to leave his pen and phone out of the matter.
To the chagrin of the Democratic Party, House GOP lawmakers voted last week in favor of suing President Obama for overstepping his Constitutional authority when he changed the Affordable Care Act by fiat after it was passed by Congress.
According to a Rasmussen poll the Nation is split (45 percent in favor, 44 percent not) with regard to whether voters support the GOP lawsuit. The equality in the lawsuit’s favorability rating is likely tethered to partisan leanings.
When it comes to whether the President should make laws on his own, a clear majority of Americans (63 percent) disagree with Obama’s penchant for executive orders and say that Congress must approve legislative changes.
Rasmussen also notes, “Fifty-five percent (55%) of voters believe that when it comes to dealing with issues the president considers important to the nation, the government should only do what the president and Congress agree on.”
Aside from public opinion, other unexpected criticisms of the President’s plan to act on immigration via executive order have cropped up.
The Washington Post’s editorial board on Tuesday published a piece titled: “Frustration over stalled immigration action doesn’t mean Obama can act unilaterally.”
In tones that were unsurprisingly sympathetic to Obama, the Post argued that Congress’ inaction doesn’t grant Obama the right to “tear up the Constitution.”
Mr. Obama now seems to be jettisoning that stance in the name of rallying his political base. He is considering extending temporary protection from deportation to millions of illegal immigrants, including the parents of U.S.-born children and others who have lived in the United States for years. Conceivably, this would give Democrats a political boost in 2016. Just as conceivably, it would trigger a constitutional showdown with congressional Republicans, who could make a cogent argument that Mr. Obama had overstepped his authority.
The president should think twice. Some of the same Democrats and pro-immigrant advocates urging him to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation would be outraged if a Republican president took a similarly selective approach to enforcing the laws — say, those that guarantee voting rights or prohibit employment discrimination. Mr. Obama’s instincts — “we’re also a nation of laws” — were and remain correct.
Over at MSNBC there’s a lot of worry about political fallout if Obama Acts alone—and, more particularly, how it would affect vulnerable Democrats in the 2014 midterms:
The political fallout from any executive action – expected to land just weeks ahead of the midterms – almost certainly endangers Democratic hopes of hanging onto the Senate. Two vulnerable Democrats – Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas and Kay Hagan of North Carolina – broke from their party last week by opposing a procedural vote on a border funding package.
Beyond efforts to fund relief for immediate border crisis, any executive action to protect millions living in the shadows from deportation could have dire political consequences for red and purple state Democrats.
Despite the worries from Democrats, lack of public support and the clear notion that executive action would violate the law of the land, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Wednesday that he couldn’t “rule anything in or out at this point” when asked about possible legislation by fiat.